ANGELS WIN, LEAD 1-0 (12:48, END 9, 5-0 ANGELS)
Put Game 1 in the books. With Oliver still in, Martinez popped a 3-2 pitch to first, Youkilis grounded out to short, and Ortiz struck out swinging at a backdoor curve.
For the first time in their four recent ALDS meetings, the Angels have a series lead over the Red Sox. John Lackey pitched like he did in 2002, when he led the Angels to the World Series. Over 7 1/3 innings and 114 pitches, he allowed four hits and one walk. Jon Lester matched him for four innings, but his wildness caught up to him in the fifth. After one of his four walks, he allowed a massive home run to Torii Hunter in the fifth, a blast that bounced around the rock pile deep behind the centerfield fence. Sox 3-4-5 hitters went 0 for 11 with a walk by Victor Martinez. David Ortiz went 0 for 4, striking out three times.
THREE OUTS LEFT, BARD IN (12:30, MID 8, 5-0 ANGELS)
Barring a miraculous comeback, the Sox will be in a 1-0 hole. Oliver retired Ellsbury and Pedroia, who lined softly to short, to quell any threat. Daniel Bard will make his postseason debut, hoping to do better than Ramirez.
Jed Lowrie will take over at short.
Lackey’s 7 1/3 innings is a career postseason high.
LACKEY OUT (12:24, TOP 8, 5-0 ANGELS)
Lackey came out for the eighth inning despite having thrown 108 pitches. Drew promptly laced a single to right. After one-time Angel Casey Kotchman entered as a pinch hitter, Drew moved to second a wild pitch. Kotchman grounded out to Figgins, who made a great stab shuffling to his right.
After 114 pitches of shutout pitching, Lackey finally left. Lefty Darren Oliver will face Jacoby Ellsbury. The crowd gave Lackey a monster ovation. He allowed four hits and walked one.
UP AGAINST IT NOW (12:19, BOTTOM 7, 3-0 ANGELS)
The Red Sox are in some serious trouble now. Ramon Ramirez walked Abreu and hit Hunter before failing to come up with a comebacker off the bat of Guerrero. It was charitably ruled a hit. In came Takashi Saito, who got Juan Rivera to ground into a 5-2-5 double play. The Sox had a chance to escape but Kendry Morales singled to left, scoring Guerrero. Jason Bay’s throw to third deflected off Rivera and he scored as well. It was the third error of the game for Boston. Howie Kendrick followed with a single but J.D. Drew threw Morales out at the plate to end the inning.
ABREU — WHAT ELSE? — WALKS (12:01, BOTTOM 7, 3-0 ANGELS)
Bobby Abreu just walked for the fourth time. That ties a divisions series record. David Ortiz walked four times on Oct. 5, 2007 against the Angels. … Los Angeles just loaded the bases on Ramon Ramirez. Takashi Saito in with no outs.
EASY AS 1-2-3 FOR LACKEY, RAMIREZ ENTERS (11:57, MID 7, 3-0 ANGELS)
The Sox have no answer for Lackey, and even though he has thrown 108 pitches, the Angels bullpen is quiet. He struck out Ortiz swinging at a 93-mph fastball on the outside corner, then struck out Bay looking at an obvious strike. Lowell popped up in foul ground to Mathis, then flipped his bat in frustration.
Lackey is making hay with precise control in the strike zone and pitching to contact. The Sox only have two hits tonight despite swinging and missing at only four of pitches — twice by Ortiz, once by Youkilis and once by Bay.
Ramon Ramirez has replaced Lester, who allowed three runs in six innings. He was very good, but a little more wild than usual, walking four, and he made one mistake to Torii Hunter, and he paid for it. Lester is in line to lose his third consecutive playoff game, dating back to Game 3 of last year’s ALCS. He also took a tough-luck loss in Game 7.
These will be Ramirez’s first postseason pitches.
ELLSBURY SAVES A RUN (11:46, END 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
Howie Kendrick reached on another disputed play at first base, then was bunted to second. With two outs, Chone Figgins crushed a ball to center. Jacoby Ellsbury, playing in against the little man, sprinted back to his left and made a lunging catch to save a run. Lester is through six and needs some run support if he is to win this one.
RAMIREZ UP IN PEN (11:42, BOTTOM 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
Two updates for you: Ramon Ramirez warming up for the Sox and CB Bucknor just blew another call at first base. If there is a third, Youkilis and Francona will race to see who gets ejected first.
LACKEY WINS BATTLE (11:40, MID 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
In an at-bat packed with drama, Youkilis couldn’t come through. After throwing a 2-0 slider outside, Lackey fell behind 3-0. Youkilis took two fastballs, running the count full. He fouled back a pitch. Lackey threw his fourth straight fastball, down and in in the strike zone. Youkilis chopped it to Figgins, who made a nice, charging play and tapped third to force out Pedroia. The Sox have nine outs left, and Lackey has thrown 95 pitches. He has 10 groudnball outs compared to six fly ball outs and two Ks.
BIG SPOT FOR YOUK (11:34, TOP 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
The Sox may have a response in them. With two outs — a fly to right by Gonzalez and a grounder to second by Ellsbury — the Sox have a rally going. Pedroia flared an opposite field single to keep the inning alive for Martinez, who walked. Youkilis can tie the game with one swing.
ANGELS TAKE THE LEAD (11:25, END 5, 3-0 ANGELS)
Jon Lester got ahead of No. 9 hitter Erick Aybar 1-2, but allowed a double down the third-base line. As you would expect, Mike Scioscia had Chone Figgins bunt and, as you would expect, he executed. Bobby Abreu then walked. That’s his third walk of the game and gave Lester four, matching his season high. Torri Hunter followed with a blast to center field that rattled around the rocks. It was a no-doubter. Lester then allowed a two-out double by Juan Rivera. Alex Gonzalez saved a run with a diving catch of a low liner off the bat of Kendry Morales to end the inning. Lester is at 90 pitches through five innings,
ALL ZEROS (11:10, MID 5, 0-0)
Last year in Game 1, another Lackey-Lester duel, the Sox didn’t score until the sixth inning. They’ve kept the same pace so far. Bay, whose two-run homer gave the Sox the lead last year, led off with a single through the left side. He was erased one batter later, though, when Lowell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Drew flied out to deep center to end the inning. Lackey has thrown 74 pitches.
LESTER OVERCOMES BAD CALL (11:01, END 4, 0-0)
Pete Abraham here. Adam and I are alternating half innings. He’s doing the updates when the Sox hit, I have the Angels.
Anyway, Jon Lester was on his way to a tidy seven-pitch inning when first-base umpire CB Bucknor (stunning, I know) blew a call. Howie Kendrick grounded a ball over the middle that Alex Gonzalez stopped with a nifty one-leg slide. But his throw went a little wild and Kevin Youkilis had to swipe a tag at Kendrick. Replays showed that Youk got him, but Bucknor called Kendrick safe. Terry Francona, who isn’t feeling well, felt well enough to jog out of the dugout and protest the call. Lester fanned Jeff Mathis to end the inning and on his way back to the dugout stopped to say something to home plate umpire Joe West.
SOX NO MATCH FOR LACKEY (10:55, MID 4, 0-0)
This is a near replay of last year’s Game 1, when Lackey shut down the Sox in the early going. They still have only one hit, Gonzalez’s single in the third. Lackey needed only 13 pitches even while striking out the final two batters. Martinez grounded to third. Youkilis struck out on three pitches, flailing at an 82-mph curve in the dirt. When Lackey got ahead of Ortiz, he went back to the curve and made Ortiz whiff over a similiar pitch.
ANGELS LEAVE THEM LOADED (10:44, END OF 3, 0-0)
The Angels are making Lester work as he needed 25 pitches to get through the third inning, but left the bases loaded. The lefty fanned the ghost of Vlad Guerrero to end the inning, causing the crowd to collectively groan. Jeff Mathis singled before Bobby Abreu (of course) and Torii Hunter drew two-out walks. Lester thought he had Hunter struck out looking on the 2-2 fastball but Country Joe West didn’t agree. After Dave Wallace came to the mound, Lester escaped damage. He’s at 53 pitches and needs some efficient innings if he’s going to go deep into this game.
SOX STRAND TWO (10:27, MID 3, 0-0)
The Red Sox managed one hit their first time through the order, but they still couldn’t break through against Lakcey, Pedroia stranding a pair of runners to end the inning. Mike Lowell lined the first pitch of the inning to right. J.D. Drew grounded out to Morales, who ranged to his right before flipping to Lackey. Alex Gonzalez finally got the first hit of the inning, lacing a single to left-center.
And then things got interesting. Ellsbury cracked a one-hopper back at Lackey, who made the stab and an easy toss to first. Inning over. TBS went to commercial. But “Country” Joe West, the home plate umpire, ruled catcher’s interference as the Angels walked off the field, putting Ellsbury on first. Pedroia could not capitalize. He lined an 0-1 slider to right, right at Abreu, to end the inning.
Lackey has thrown 53 pitches, 34 strikes. They Sox are at least making him work, seeing a whopping 4.81 pitches per plate appearance so far.
LESTER IN COMMAND (10:14, END OF 2, 0-0)
Jon Lester sailed through the second inning, needing 10 pitches to dispose of the Angels. He struck out Juan Rivera with a slider, got Kendry Morales to pop a slider to center then struck out Howie Kendrick with a curveball that was headed for his feet when he swung at it. Lester also kicked his fastball up to 96. I’m going by the gun here at Angel Stadium. Given the problems TBS has televising baseball, that seems best. The two starters getting it done so far.
THREE UP, THREE DOWN (10:07, MID 2, 0-0)
Lackey still has not allowed a base runner. Kevin Youkilis lined softly to right. David Ortiz grounded weakly to first. Ortiz jogged not even halfway to first, never dropping his bat. Jason Bay, who hit a home off of Lackey last October in his thrid career playoff at-bat, grounded out to third. Crisp game, not much action so far.
LESTER HEATS UP (9:59 END OF 1, 0-0
Of the 17 pitches Jon Lester threw in the first inning, only two came in at less than 93 mph. The lefty was going mainly with his fastball and it paid off as he was able to work around a one-out walk by the always patient Bobby Abreu. Mike Lowell made a diving stop at third base to force Abreu at second base to end the inning. Vlad Guerrero is now 16 of 64 (.250) with one RBI over 18 postseason games.
FRANCONA OK, SOX START SLOW (9:47, MID 1, 0-0)
The good news is, Francona is feeling well enough to begin the game in the dugout. The bad news for the Red Sox is, Lackey held them down with his two-seam fastball retired them in order. Ellsbury chopped a 3-2 pitch to Kendry Morales at first, who flipped to Lackey for the out. Dustin Pedroia grounded to first, too, on the seventh pitch he saw. Victor Martiez drove a 2-2 fastball to left, where Juan Rivera made an easy catch. The Red Sox at least made Lackey work, seeing a total of 23 pitches.
As seen in the post below, the Red Sox will play Sunday’s Game 3 at 12:07 p.m.
WE’RE UNDERWAY (9:39, TOP 1, 0-0)
John Lackey’s first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury was a 91-mph fastball for strike one. There’s a good buzz in the park, ThunderStix snapping all over the place.
TITO FEELING SICK (9:33, PRE 1, 0-0)
When the stadium p.a. announcer introduced Terry Francona, no one emerged from the Red Sox dugout. The reason: Francona is not feeling well. He is expected to manage tonight’s game, though, according to a Red Sox spokesperson.
READY TO GO (9:29, PRE 1, 0-0)
The anthem has been sung — brilliant, by a 6-year-old girl named Taylor Longbrake — the players have been introduced and lined up on the base lines, there and players running in the outfield. The Red Sox’ playoffs will begin in about 10 minutes.
The Angels also played a video tribute to Nick Adenhart, the 22-year-old pitcher who was killed by a drunk driver in April.